[YOUR ADVENTURE] NORWAY, EPISODE 4 : BIVOUAC IN THE HEART OF NORWAY
In this fourth episode of Théo Giacometti and his friend Simon Faure-Vincent’s trip in Norway, Théo explains the ups and downs of bivouac in the wild !
Norway is a hospitable land, to those willing to brave it, provided that you’re prepared. At night, the temperature plunges and it’s not unusual, even at this time of year, to wake up a few centimetres of freshly fallen snow. Adequate equipment and flawless preparation are therefore essential.
Because the sun only sets for a few hours, between midnight and 3am, we were sometimes able to walk until early evening. However, it’s always more sensible and safer to find somewhere to bivouac early on. I was always careful to find a dry spot, or at least somewhere as dry as possible, sheltered from the wind and near water.
We pitched the tent as quickly as possible so we could protect our belongings in case it rained. It’s always best to inflate your mattress and unroll your duvet quite early as that gives them time to warm up a bit if the sun is out.
If there’s enough time, it’s often nice to quietly explore your surroundings, without being encumbered by a backpack. Your body feels energized and more agile and, mentally, you feel freer and more alive. There’s no shortage of things to do when you’re bivouacking. Find water, freshen up, rinse out a few items of clothing, explore the local plant life, track an elk or a herd of reindeer or try a few casts in a lake or stream, in the hope of finding a fish willing to act as a substitute for our meager rations of dried food!
When you’re hiking self-sufficiently, food is a sacred commodity that you ration, protect and savour. Energy bars are carefully counted and warm meals become an unspeakable pleasure. You try to delay meal times just a little so you can enjoy them as much as possible. The time spent cooking was nearly always devoted to daily stretching.
Our evenings were often short, despite the fact that we were surrounded by light; the 8 hours of daily walking got the better of us well before nightfall. But sometimes, when excitement kept us awake, it was magical to be able observe the sun that never set, and admire the colours so characteristic of these wild expanses of land, bathed in the most profound silence imaginable; I’d lean against a rock, well wrapped up, luxuriating in a unique and inimitable sense of completeness – a high point of those very special days, days that we had already begun to reminisce about.